What unites conservatives in the US and the UK? Terrible solutions to the cost of living crisis

·2 min read

Get a better job! Work until you’re 73! From Rachel Maclean to Laura Ingraham, rightwingers love to offer out-of-touch solutions


Energy bills have gone through the roof, but that hasn’t curtailed the British government’s enthusiasm for gaslighting. Rather than take any responsibility for the cost of living crisis (or, God forbid, try to solve it), Tory politicians seem to be in competition to see who can dole out the most patronising advice.

The latest example of Conservative condescension comes via Rachel Maclean, the safeguarding minister. Maclean told Sky news on Monday that anyone struggling with the cost of living crisis should consider working more hours or think about getting a better-paying job. Thanks, Rachel! Never considered that myself. Now that you mention it, though, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just become a CEO or an investment banker. It is brilliant ideas such as this that get you a salary of £104,000 in 2020/21 and allow you to claim £218,000 in expenses on top of it, as Maclean did last year.

Maclean isn’t the only Tory MP offering helpful life hacks. Lee Anderson claimed last week that food poverty isn’t actually a problem – the problem is the silly poor people: “They can’t cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget.” Anderson also claimed that you can make a nice, nutritious meal for 30p. Uh, maybe 30 years ago.

Conservatives across the Atlantic, I should note, are equally condescending and out of touch. One classic came from Fox News’s Laura Ingraham. Earlier this year, she argued passionately against the forgiveness of student loan debt by saying her mum worked as a waitress until she was 73 to help pay off college loans. “Loan forgiveness [is] just another insult to those who play by the rules,” she said. Sound like pretty terrible rules to me.

Still, rule-abiders take note: inflation is nothing to worry about as long as you work more hours, get a better-paid job, cook 30p recipes and get your mother to waitress until she is well into her 70s.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting